Mondays Random Stream of Consciousness – Part 1.
Posted by Possum Comitatus on January 21, 2008
The implementation of technology into our lives, particularly new generations of computer technology….or so we told, are supposed to unleash a wave of productivity enhancement that we mortals can surf all the way to the promised land of the “paperless office“. It never really quite eventuates that way… but oh the promises!
Over the last couple of weeks, my trusty old laptop decided to die a quiet death by the standards of these things – there were no sparks, nor smoke bleeding from the vents – just a quiet whimper as one of the hard drives died, then the optical drive kicked it, and within a few days it simply ceased to function anymore. I treated my three year old companion with the post-mortem respect one would expect to give a laptop purchased from an Aldi supermarket – the next day it was off to the shops to buy a bright shiny new toy.
As seems to be the case with these things, utilitarianism was the original aim – something functional, reasonably priced and good value. I was after the Toyota Camry of the laptop world. Yet despite ones functional good intentions, it never really works out that way in the end.
But I cant even use the seductive hyperbole of computer sales folk as an excuse – I never even spoke with one of those well dressed young spruikers that regale customers with their alluring tales of the need for a 320GB hard drive, or why a 256MB 8600m GT DDR3 graphics card would light up the liquid crystals in such superior ways to your run of the mill Intel on board GPU.
Nope, I got sucked in by maxing out one of these jobbies.
Pure technoporn on a stick. The glistening 1440×900 display, the built in webcam, the touchpad-esq media controls, the remote control, the snazzy sound isolation earbuds…not to mention the finger print reader.
Oh the finger print reader!
Of course, I have absolutely no use for most of these things – but with bright shiny new technology, the rational part exited stage left and I found myself being exhibit A in the trial of the marketing success of “build it and they will come“.
Strangely enough I’ve found the need to use ones fingerprint as a password substitute for files that I wouldn’t ever care to lock. That 320 GB hard drive is now the second home of the 200 odd CDs and recordings I own, I’ve found myself watching Youtube clips on the lappy hooked up to a Bravia LCD TV via full throttle HDMI – just why I’m not sure, it defies all logic and rationality – I think it’s simply because I can.
Build it and suckers like me (and probably a large number of suckers like you) will come.
After the initial ogling phase came the dissatisfaction. Not with the box and its software per se, but simply with the fact that its potential wasn’t maximised. So it was a format and fresh install of Vista – removing all the Dell bloatware in the process and tweaking all the little bits Vista has to offer. After that it was off to http://www.laptopvideo2go.com for the best performing modded notebook Nvidia drivers for the graphics card, I got myself some Rivatuner goodness to overclock that bugger to within an inch of its stable life and after getting a solid 5500 3dMark06 score while keeping the GPU temperature under 65 degrees with heavy GPU use, I thought I was finally done.
Sitting back quite chuffed with myself, I then noticed that my desktop was bland. Not only bland, but not particularly functional either. The more I looked, the more the appearance of the generic Vista desktop, even with Aero enabled, was just so passé Dahrling.
3 days in and counting, and I hadn’t actually produced a single piece of work on this productivity enhancing revolution in a sexy case. ‘Tis the way with these things I suppose.
So I found myself a nice fractal wallpaper (a tasty Mandelbrot number from http://exoteric.roach.org/bg/index.html ), I downloaded Objectdock to give me some spiffy icon faced active shortcuts on the bottom, I set up my sidebar widgets for network and CPU monitoring as well as Brisbane weather and a handy note book, and I generally spruced up the place to end up with a desktop befitting of such a powerful productivity enhancing tool :
So again, I sat back and enjoyed a bit of a self-gloat over my achievements and thought all was good and well in the universe – until I realised that I’d just spent days making by Wintel laptop look and act like a bloody Macbook!
So much for productivity enhancement – I could have saved myself the time and effort by buying one in the first place!
That’s productivity for you 😉
On another matter completely unrelated to politics, lately I’ve found myself being strangely mesmerized by this song – Sugarland (or more particularly Jennifer Nettles) singing a song titled Stay:
It’s a great song and a powerful performance (well worth having a squiz at), but what really makes my head spin is the fact that someone, somewhere – probably some talentless marketing droid from a music company that couldn’t play a tamborine to save its life – decided in their infinite wisdom to disable the embedding code on the Youtube page for this video.
Why in gods name would you do such a thing? Do they think that some shithouse third-rate youtube recording of the song is going to decrease their real sales if third parties start giving the band free publicity by running the music video from their own web sites?
Who ever the mental mountain was behind that decision, they need to drag their sorry arse out of 1977 – that is, or course, if they’ve finally come to terms with cassette tapes not leading to Teh End of Teh Music World.
With all of the free marketing potential that the net provides, and we see it everyday with clever viral marketing campaigns, the best that record companies can come up with (assuming it was one of those spivs responsible) is disabling the embed code and trying to erect a barrier for free advertising of their products via third party distribution.
No wonder these idiots are going broke -they deserve to. It also makes parodies like this all the more telling:
And to show the true stupidity of it all, here’s the Sugarland vid in question:
A small note:
For all those that have emailed me over the last week and a half or so via the contact page, or my private mail address, I havent been able to access that mail until a few days ago when I finally changed everything over and sorted it all out – so I’ll endeavor to get back to all shortly.